"Living on Earth is expensive,
but it does include a free trip around the sun every year." - Unknown
As I type this, I’m on one of my 3-day trips for work away from my family. Ah, work life and the traveling dad. Luckily it’s not too frequent, but it’s time away from the crew nonetheless. As a father, I knew that work would some day pull me away for training, field days, dinners, and so on. The unknown was how it would impact the daily rituals of our humble home. Our evening routine is one of delicate balance. Just a slight change to that balance and chaos reigns supreme. So we treat that equilibrium with reverence and respect.
It begins with dinner, moves to bath and jammy time, eases into books and stories, then ends with hugs and kisses. Simple, yes? NO! I’ve seen cowboys break a mustang before and THAT looked easier than building our homestead customs. People, our children have let us know that they need routine, stability, and for heaven’s sake, DON’T forget that story! It runs like clockwork and I say again, one tilt in the balance of our family ecosystem and we’re either up throughout the night with little ones, or it all ends in tears.
So when I announce that there’s a trip of any significant length coming up, the groans begin. First, The Wife expresses her reservations, then her fears, then her acceptance. Once the kids get wind of it, there’s even more complaint, but in the form of a sweet siren’s song of “daddy, don’t go.” Heart strings are pulled, emotions run high, and I begin to wonder if I might be able to support my family as a man of leisure. You know, a man’s man, or man about town. No? Bah,…worth a try. It still begs the question: How does our family get by when daddy has to travel?
These days, we have every iDevice at our fingertips to text, talk, and video each other. Those unto themselves could make you the daddy that didn’t forget his offspring before bedtime. Me and the family have chatted via the video phone, and I can’t get them to stop making lame faces into the camera the ENTIRE time! It’s a start I guess. Before I left for this trip, I did a personal note to the older two on 3 x 5 cards and left them on the table in the respective spots as I left the house quite early in the morning. I was told they were a huge hit, and are an example of the little things you can do to ease the suffering of the minor afflicted. Bringing home some sort of gift or treat as a peace offering couldn’t hurt either.
The point is, dads, we are missed. A lot. A WHOLE lot. I read on a post recently that a dad has four girls that make him feel like a member of the Beatles when he gets home. We’re all rock stars to our children, and we can take care of our “fans” by taking a bit of care with how we leave them for our work trips. It will pay dividends in the end to pay attention to how we deal with being gone, as our little ones are dealing with us being gone.